High school classmate. Friend. Teammate. Champion.
College student-athlete. College teammate.
There are few strings of words that are as gratifying as those, and that’s the road travelled by Farrington seniors Molimau Heimuli and Chantal Mailou. The two basketball standouts were among dozens from the class of 2017 who inked their letters of intent in a signing ceremony hosted by Education First on Wednesday morning at the Honolulu Elks Lodge (Waikiki).
Heimuli and Mailou signed to play at Paris Junior College (Texas).
“We have to earn our spots,” said Heimuli, a 6-foot post who was arguably the best girls basketball player in the Oahu Interscholastic Association. “We leave at the end of June. We’re going to play hard.”
The Lady Dragons were 7-23 overall last season, including 4-16 in a tough Region XIV Conference where national powerhouse Blinn College often rules. Heimuli, who averaged 21 points per game, was a Star-Advertiser All-State Fab 15 selection. Mailou was a key contributor on a much-improved Farrington squad coached by Caroline Tatupu.
Now they’ll play for Gonzalo Garza, who just completed his second season with Paris.
“We have to prove to him that we’re capable of working hard,” said Mailou, a combo guard whose defense was a major asset for the Lady Governors.
Garza’s introduction to Farrington’s program came a few years ago when he saw former Gov Penina Faumui play for Blinn. That led to Farrington Vice-Principal Ronald Oyama, who has been a regular pipeline builder for the school’s student-athletes in various sports.
Other Farrington athletes who signed letters include volleyball player Chasity Wong, who will go to Grays Harbor Community College (Wash.).
“I’ve been playing since I was 8. I fell in love with the sport,” Wong said.
There are other teammates heading to college together. Hali‘a Hogan and Kira Morikawa played at different schools, but competed at the club level for years at Kui Kahi. Hogan (‘Iolani), a 6-2 middle blocker, and Morikawa (Punahou) will play at Oklahoma next season.
“The team was really welcoming. I danced hula for them and that was huge,” Hogan said. “They asked me to teach them.”
“It’s like here, it’s about family like Hawaii,” Morikawa said. “It’s special.”
Hogan’s Raider and Kui Kahi teammate, setter Ana Oglivie, penned her letter to West Point. She is a daughter of a Marine. The early wake-up calls won’t be a problem.
“Five a.m. is basically what I do now. I actually get up every morning earlier than they do,” Oglivie said. “I’m going into boot camp when I get there July 3. They sent me a 62-page packet on training. My dad was a Marine for eight or 12 years. He says it’s every man for himself, take care of yourself, which is different being from Hawaii or being on a sports team, especially being a woman.”
Hogan wasn’t surprised by her teammate’s choice.
“She’s physically tough, but she’s mentally way more tough to most people,” she said.
St. Martin’s (Wash.) continued to build its stock of Hawaii baseball talent, signing Maryknoll battery mates Matthew Dunaway and Chayson Dulatre. Dunaway, a right-hander, has been a steadying influence for the Spartans. Coach Eric Kadooka considers him one of the best pitchers in the state despite Maryknoll’s difficulties against tough Interscholastic League of Honolulu competition.
Their destination was a fit off the diamond, too.
“Academically, they had our majors,” Dunaway said. “I’m majoring in business marketing and baseball.”
Baseball isn’t a major, but Dunaway’s dedication has never waned. At Maryknoll, he earned the trust of his coaches and has been unflappable.
“Maryknoll is a different atmosphere. You don’t get lost in the crowd. It’s not cliquey because we have such a small student body,” he said.
St. Martin’s, he added, is a similar environment.
“They’re an up-and-coming D-II program and they offer a lot of academic financial aid,” Dunaway said. “You get a lot more money since (Maryknoll) is a Catholic school.”
Dulatre plans to major in civil engineering. He picked St. Martin’s over Puget Sound and Whitworth, both D-III schools.
“I took my visit to St. Martin’s and all the Hawaii guys made me feel comfortable. I’m pretty excited because I played with Matt for the past four years and I get to play with him for four more years,” Dulatre said.
Other Hawaii residents playing at St. Martin’s include ’15 Maryknoll graduate Kahi Hirano and former Kamehameha shortstop Micah McNicoll.
Oglivie isn’t the only signee with a military academy. As expected, ‘Iolani swimmer Çagla Brennan signed with the U.S. Naval Academy, following a family tradition of sea-farers.